We are easily consumed by unproductive meetings. And the worst is when a meeting goes really well, but then there are no follow-up actions because there was no clear leader of the meeting, nor was there anyone taking notes and assigning follow-up tasks. Ever have a great meeting where everyone provides feedback, only to find that none of it was captured and/or implemented? In these cases the leader failed in their role and they are less likely to continue getting participation when others who donate their time see no correlatied outcome. For a meeting to be productive, the meeting’s leader should be ready to listen and ensure the feedback is documented so that it can be acted on later. Co-worker participation level becomes passive and unproductive if not.
So how do we improve?
- Set the stage that all meetings need a leader, agenda, and the leader should be prepared to document the outcomes and ensure follow
- Don’t take meetings unless you believe they will be productive (have a leader, agenda, and follow-up/next steps are the goal)
- Stop meetings short and reschedule if key elements are missing
One caveat: Brainstorming sessions are important at the early stages of a project and may not have a specific agenda. This is ok – but all the other elements apply.